Title IX Information & Resources

Since being signed into law in 1972, Title IX has provided legal provision for equal access in the following areas: access to higher education; career education; education for pregnant and parenting students; employment; learning environment; math and science; sexual harassment; standardized testing and technology. Through these provisions, Title IX has increased opportunities for women and men in athletics. Women Leaders in College Sports supports ongoing efforts to provide equitable treatment in athletic programs.

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance…”

The law applies to educational institutions that receive any federal funds and prohibits discrimination in all educational programs and activities. Athletics are not specifically mentioned in the law but are considered an educational program or activity and are thus covered by the law.

In order to be considered in compliance with Title IX, athletics departments must show that they are achieving parity in the following three areas: participation, treatment in program areas, and athletic financial assistance.

Participation: Schools can demonstrate that they are in compliance with the participation component of Title IX by passing at least one part of the Three-Part Test. This test gives institutions the ability to comply with Title IX by meeting one of the following tests:

  • The number of participation opportunities for male and female athletes is substantially proportionate to their respective enrollments; or
  • The institution has a history and continuing practice of expanding participation opportunities responsive to the developing interests and abilities of the underrepresented sex; or
  • The institution is fully and effectively accommodating the interests and abilities of the underrepresented sex.

Treatment in Program Areas: In order to demonstrate that the athletics programs are in compliance with the treatment in program area stipulation, the entire men’s and women’s programs are compared in a number of different areas:

  • Facilities
  • Equipment
  • Scheduling
  • Publicity
  • Coaching
  • Travel and daily allowance
  • Support services
  • Recruitment of students
  • Academic tutoring
  • Medical and training facilities
  • Housing and dining

In each of these areas, if there is any difference between the men’s and women’s athletics programs, the effect of the difference must be negligible.

Athletic Financial Assistance: Title IX does not require that the budgets for the men’s and women’s athletics programs be equal. However, the budgets for the men’s and women’s programs must be such that the benefits provided must be equal. A large disparity in budgets may also point to inequalities elsewhere in the programs. This portion of Title IX also deals with athletic scholarships. In order to be compliant under this section, schools must provide substantially proportionate scholarship money for its male and female student-athletes.


If a school is not compliant with any of the three areas listed above, it runs the risk of having its federal funding revoked.


If someone believes that a school is not following Title IX guidelines, he or she can file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The OCR is then responsible for launching an investigation to determine whether or not Title IX violations exist. Anyone can file a Title IX complaint with the OCR.

Title IX Resources

espnW Nine for IX Knowledge Center - resource launched in July 2014 for leading thoughtful, engaging discussions around key themes in an ESPN/espnW-produced series of nine documentary films about women in sports. The Knowledge Center includes a trailer, film summary, discussion guides for downloading and sign-up to receive your Nine for IX DVD set.

NCAA Title IX Resource Center

Women’s Sports Foundation

National Women’s Law Center

Equity in Athletics Data Analysis Cutting Tool Website

Office for Civil Rights

Title IX Blog

Title IX: Let'em Play (aired March 7, 2014) – In this video, the Big Ten Network and the University of Illinois take a look back at the early years of women's collegiate athletics in a new documentary. Dr. Karol Kahrs, Illinois's first women's athletic director, tells the story of the tumultuous first years after the amendment was signed.